Take a look back through wide receiver Ed McCaffrey's outstanding Broncos career.
In our Broncos Legends series, we're revisiting the careers of some of the best players in franchise history with video highlights and rarely seen photos — and they'll join us to break down their favorite moments as a Bronco and more. We continue the series with Pro Bowl wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. Here's a refresher of his time in Denver.
A former third-round pick by the New York Giants, McCaffrey joined the Broncos as a free agent in 1995 following three years in New York and a one-year stint with the 49ers. Mike Shananan brought McCaffrey with him from San Francisco to Denver when he became the team's head coach in 1995.
McCaffrey was simply a spot starter early in his career, as he started just four of his first 64 games in the league. In Denver, though, McCaffrey developed into one of the franchise's leading receivers. After starting five of 16 games in 1995, McCaffrey started all 76 of the games in which he appeared over the next five seasons.
During that span, McCaffrey was a key contributor on two world-championship teams. In 1997, he caught 45 passes for 590 yards and eight touchdowns before adding a touchdown during the 1997 postseason. McCaffrey was the Broncos' leading receiver in Super Bowl XXXII as he caught two passes for 45 yards. A year later, McCaffrey made an even bigger impact. He was selected to the lone Pro Bowl of his career with a 1,053-receiving yard, 10-touchdown output in 1998. He caught 64 passes that year as the Broncos earned back-to-back world titles.
Following John Elway's retirement after the 1998 season, McCaffrey continued to post solid numbers. He recorded his second career 1,000-yard receiving season in 1999 and added a 101-catch, 1,317-yard, nine-touchdown effort in 2000.
McCaffrey played with the Broncos through the 2003 season, though his 2001 campaign was cut short after one game after he suffered a broken leg on "Monday Night Football" on Sept. 10, 2001.
He caught at least one pass in 68 consecutive games from 1997 to 2003, a streak that ranks third in franchise history.
The Stanford product finished his career with 462 catches, 6,200 receiving yards and 46 touchdown receptions for the Broncos. He ranks fifth in Broncos history in career receptions and receiving yards and fourth in receiving touchdowns.
"He is going to be remembered by me and by most of the fans here as the bravest and most courageous player to play for the team," said late Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen following McCaffrey's retirement.
One Pro Bowl (1998); one-time Associated Press second-team All-Pro (1998); fifth in Broncos history in career receptions and receiving yards; fourth in Broncos history in receiving touchdowns; Broncos Top 100 Team member.
Stats to know
105 starts in 121 career games in Denver, 462 catches, 6,200 yards, 13.4 yards per catch, 46 touchdowns, 303 catches for first downs, 8.4 yards per target.
In his own words
"I've always been known as the tall, thin, slow white guy,'' said the 6-5, 215-pound McCaffrey with an easy smile. "I was actually thinking of calling up all of the reporters and media I know and running a 40-yard dash to finally clear the air and show I'm not as slow as they think.
"I like to think I'm more than just a possession receiver. I can block, catch and clear people out. I don't know why I get labeled. Maybe my stride doesn't look quick."
via a January 1998 article in the Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)
Three games to remember
Week 9, 1998: Broncos 33, Bengals 26
McCaffrey's son Christian called out this game as part of a Father's Day feature on NFL Network, so we'll toss it in this list. In Weeks 9 and 10 in 1998, McCaffrey posted back-to-back games with 133 receiving yards. The first effort came in Week 9, as he caught seven passes for the 133 yards and a score. Running back Terrell Davis broke the tie with just over a minute to go, but the drive was spurred by a pair of 30-yard and 14-yard catches by McCaffrey.
Week 1, 1996: Broncos 45, Ravens 34
McCaffrey posted one of his two career three-touchdown games as the Broncos surged to a come-from-behind fourth-quarter win in Baltimore. In a back-and-forth game, the Broncos jumped out to a 21-3 lead, fell behind in the third quarter and then surged ahead late. McCaffrey caught the opening touchdown of the game, snagged an 8-yard score in the second quarter and then caught a 6-yard pass in the final frame to give the Broncos a lead. He finished with seven catches for 76 yards and three scores.
Week 12, 2000: Broncos 38, Chargers 37
Another pick by his son Christian, this was one of McCaffrey's many two-touchdown performances. The older McCaffrey caught a go-ahead touchdown from Gus Frerotte with 1:33 remaining to secure a 13-point fourth-quarter comeback. He finished the game with 10 catches for a career-best 148 yards and two touchdowns.